These dogs are riding safely, at the 2011 Mystic Krewe of Barkus parade at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
I was driving west on Washington Boulevard in Culver City, heading towards Venice. Washington here is a broad, four-laned boulevard with parking on each side, and on this Saturday afternoon, traffic wasn't heavy but it was moving fast.
Just past Centinela, on my left, I saw a small white dog dart out into the street from between the parked cars and begin to run west, with the traffic.
At first I thought someone would retrieve him, but no. He was on his own, and making a break for it on a busy street. As he ran - improbably as it may seem - I saw him turn his little head as though to look over his shoulder for oncoming traffic.
I gasped and braked, and then he shot on past me. There was a small black car at the curb with the door open. I felt sure the driver would scoop him up and all would be well.
But no. He ran past the parked cars. A red or pink collar jingled. I braked again, and slowed, and in the lane next to me, so did a white Acura.
Time seemed to slow. I imagined him running out in front of me, or into the next lane. I imagined him hit. I imagined me scooping him up in my arms and taking him into my car. I passed him, and then ahead of me I saw the curb open up before the corner, and I pulled over, threw the shift into Park, and got out of the car.
He ran toward me. I stood almost in traffic and beckoned. "Hey, puppy, puppy, puppy, come here, puppy!"
He veered away from me out into the traffic lane. I was horrified that I had put him in further danger. I stood like an idiot. What could I do? Run out in traffic? Chase the dog further into traffic?
I watched as he dodged back toward the curb.
The white Acura pulled over the curb ahead of me. The puppy skitter-stepped around it, then came back toward the curb and continued on westward. As the Acura slowed and stopped, the puppy made a fast right turn at the corner, and a young Asian guy in a blue T shirt jumped out and started chasing him.
I closed my car door and started to the corner, but then I realized my car was still running. I went back, turned it off, took the key and locked it, and then walked toward the corner. I stood watching, holding my keys, but by this time, the dog was out of sight and the young man was slowly walking back.
"Did you see him? Where did he go?" I asked.
"He just kept running," he said. "I couldn't keep up with him."
We looked at each other. His friends beckoned from the car. "Well," I said. "At least he's off the boulevard."
I walked back toward my car.
We had both tried to rescue a dog that didn't want rescuing.
I hope the little guy was running toward home, not away.
Train, leash, and secure your dog, people.